Daniel Roher’s deeply personal story of the Canada’s Robbie Robertson, a Crave Original Documentary, will open the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on Thursday, September 5th.
This is the first time a Canadian Documentary will open the prestigious and often star-filled TIFF. Big congratulations to Roher, producer Peter Raymont of White Pine Pictures, and their team for garnering this coveted slot at the TIFF! The film also lists Martin Scorsese, Brian Grazer, and Ron Howard as executive producers.
Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band was inspired by Robertson’s 2016 memoir, Testimony, tells the moving story of Robertson’s personal journey as he overcame adversity and found camaraderie alongside the four other men who would become his brothers in music, and who together made their mark on music history.
In a career spanning six decades, Robbie Robertson has continued to create as a songwriter, producer, performer, actor, author, and film composer. “This is one of Toronto’s great stories of a hometown hero,” said Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director & Co-Head of TIFF. “From his early years in this city, to the inspiration he took from life on the Six Nations reserve, to the impact he’s had on generations of music lovers, Robertson emerges in Roher’s film as a truly Canadian-made superstar. In our first year as TIFF’s Co-Heads, Joana [Vicente] and I are thrilled to open the Festival with a Canadian story that speaks to the world.”
Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band blends rare archival footage, photography, iconic songs, and interviews with many of Robertson’s friends and collaborators, including Martin Scorsese, Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, Peter Gabriel, Taj Mahal, Dominique Robertson, and Ronnie Hawkins.
Of the experience, Roher said “Robertson’s tale is a remarkable reminder of how vision, ambition, and hard work can empower one’s wildest dreams… “Robbie took a chance on me, and I will be forever grateful that he rolled the dice on a kid from Toronto to helm his story. Opening the Toronto International Film Festival is beyond some wildest dreams of my own and I am thankful for everyone who believed in me.”
Robertson himself is also “tremendously honoured that the premiere of Once Were Brothers, inspired by my memoir Testimony, will be the opening movie at TIFF this year, in my hometown of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.”
Once Were Brothers will stream on Crave in Canada later this year, post its TIFF premiere and festival run.